More help needed

Calls grow to support the ‘left behind’ sectors

King's Theatre

Many in the creative industries have received no support

The UK government will today be urged to help the events sector and freelancers who have not yet received any support during the coronavirus pandemic.

A debate will take place in the Commons to focus on the UK’s creative industries which were growing at five times the rate of the economy as a whole prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Up to three million people have been identified as the “left behinds” and are facing the added prospect of higher taxes to help pay for the support handed to other sectors.

They include:

– owner-managers of limited companies who have historically paid themselves via dividends rather than salary

– freelancers, such as those working in the theatre, television and film industries

– those involved in the full-time letting of flats and homes, as such income is officially regarded as investment income rather than self-employed earnings

– and those self-employed individuals who have started their businesses in 2019/20 (and 2018/19 in some cases).

Robert Salter, a director at tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg, said: “the Government has still ‘ignored’ significant groups of workers with the updated arrangements – the so-called ‘left behinds’ remain left behind under the most recently announced plans.”

He said: “ For a Government, which has always talked about supporting small businesses and encouraging an entrepreneurial economy, it is surprising that [the Chancellor] Mr Sunak continues to ignore the needs of up to three million people who are estimated to be in this group of left behinds. 

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He added: “Such workers are likely to face additional taxes in the coming years and the reality of additional taxes, poor economic growth because of Covid and the absolute lack of any real support represent a real ‘triple whammy’ for this group.”

SNP MP Owen Thompson will today raise concerns in a debate in the Commons.

He said: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Tory government at Westminster has failed to engage with the pressing concerns of the events industry – the sixth biggest industry in the UK economy.

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